KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has denied receiving money from 1MDB, describing the suggestion as a “total lie”.
“In fact, I was one of the federal ministers who spoke out against the misuse of funds under the 1MDB at the time,” he said in responding to a call by Gerakan president Dominic Lau for Shafie and other former Umno leaders to return funds linked to 1MDB.
Shafie, who was Umno vice-president when the issue broke out, said the money might have been given to Sabah Umno, but that was a party matter.
Personally, he said, he never received any money from 1MDB.
“If the money was given to Sabah Umno, how could I have I declined it? I was not the liaison chairman at the time. It was (former chief minister) Musa Aman.
“Furthermore, if the money was later distributed to party divisions, it would have been up to the state committee. I could not say I cannot accept as it was the decision of the party at the time.
“But to say that I received and accepted 1MDB money … that is a total lie.
“If it was the truth, why would I have spoken so loudly against it to the extent that I was eventually removed from the federal Cabinet?”
Shafie was speaking to reporters after attending Sawit Kinabalu’s Hari Raya open house here today.
Earlier, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had come to the defence of Mukhriz Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal, who once headed the Kedah, Johor and Sabah Umno state chapters respectively.
He said the three never received 1MDB money in their personal accounts.
Lim had previously stated that there are more than 41 recipients of money allegedly from 1MDB, as named by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in its recent civil forfeiture applications.
Commenting on Sawit Kinabalu Sdn Bhd, the investment arm of the Sabah state government in the oil palm industry, Shafie said he was impressed with the company’s management despite the current erratic palm oil market.
He said the low price of the commodity was unusual and that it had affected the company’s performance.
“That is why we need to ensure that other sectors perform better in order to bring in income for the government.”
He said the oil palm industry could explore other ways to diversify its products, including through downstream activities.